Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Obama Bluffed

Michael L.

In a March, 2012 article by The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg we have this tidbit:
In the most extensive interview he has given about the looming Iran crisis, Obama told me earlier this week that both Iran and Israel should take seriously the possibility of American action against Iran's nuclear facilities. "I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff." He went on, "I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say."
Well, as president of the United States, Obama clearly does bluff.  He did bluff, Iran called his bluff, and now the chips are flowing to the other side of the table.  Of course, I knew that he was bluffing as soon as he denied it.  As a long-time poker player it is obvious that when someone sitting across from you claims that they do not bluff, that they are bluffing.  No player who makes such a statement is taken seriously and whatever else Barack Obama may be, he is certainly a player.

Basically what the Iran deal comes down to is that in exchange for a great financial windfall, due to the lifting of sanctions, the Iranians get to continue enriching uranium as they come closer and closer to that much coveted nuclear arsenal.  You cannot really blame Iran.  They look to their right and what do they see?  US troops in Iraq.  They look to their left and what do that see?  An Afghanistan that until quite recently was occupied by US forces.  So naturally they want the bomb as a deterrence.  They may want it for other reasons, but there is no question that they also want it for deterrence and who can blame them?  If I were the Ayatollah Khamenei I would want nuclear weaponry, as well.

But just because Iran has very good reason for wanting a nuclear arsenal it does not mean that the United States, and the west, more generally, is obligated to allow it to happen.  Nonetheless, that is precisely what we are seeing.  The Obama administration never had any real intention of preventing a Sharia Bomb, because the Obama administration is weak.  The United States, under this administration, is in retreat throughout the world and ultimately has not the fortitude or the will to prevent Tehran from going nuclear.

Does this mean that when Iran attains its nuclear arsenal they will automatically use it against Israel and / or the west?  I sincerely doubt it.  Despite their crazed End of Days eschatological religious view, the ayatollahs are neither stupid nor entirely irrational.  They don't want to see Tehran turned into a parking lot any more than we would like to see either Washington D.C. or Jerusalem obliterated.  But that's not really the point.  An Iranian bomb will mean a power shift throughout the Middle East with Iran becoming the regional hegemon, the continued ascension of political Islam, and an arms race that will see both Egypt and Saudi Arabia scrambling to come up with nuclear weapons of their own.

Meanwhile, Iran will gain the power to harass Israel to its Turkish Delight and Israel's ability to respond will be severely curtailed under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.

At this point the only real question is not if Iran will get the bomb, but when?

And why?

Because Obama bluffed and he did it badly.


  1. I would say it's a coin toss - no better or worse than 50/50 that a nuclear Iran uses an atomic bomb. George Friedman/STRATFOR adopts your entirely sensible PoV where Iran wants an atomic program but not an atomic weapon in order to get what they want but the point I stumble over is that there's got to be faster cheaper means to an end of that's their approach. Iran has run their country into the ground for a decade. Moreso now that we live in a world where genocide is tolerated even genocide with WMD is semi-tolerated. Iran might see the downside of using a nuke or two as not that much of a downside after all. No one's ever seriously stayed anyone's hand before in fact there has never been a genocide that's ever been prevented by any world body and more ofter than not they do nothing AFTER the fact. Syria attained more legitimacy by killing thousands with chemical weapons, not less. So I see it as Iran developing atomic weapons BECAUSE they want atomic weapons and once they do, all bets are effectively off. We have an impotent west and US who'd rather scold people in the UN for atrocities but Obama and the EU is not prepared to fight back against any real threat from anyone. They seem to continue to believe that no matter how crazy the psychopath despots get, they're far away. Perhaps what need to do is quietly give Iran the capability to lob atomic bombs into Paris, London. Berlin, Madrid instead of merely Tel Aviv, Athens, Sofia and Bucharest.

  2. It's not a bluff, it's a con. Those who think it's a bluff are being conned. Teh O wants Iran to have nukes, and he'll jump; over as many hoops as needed to make it happen.